Park Chan Wook's OLDBOY
Move review by Dennis D. McDonald
While watching this Korean film the word that popped into my head was “Kafka-esque.” Bad stuff happens to an innocent man for no apparent reason and he has to deal with it without knowing why he is being tormented.
In this case, after a drunken brawl a family man is locked upin a hotel room — for 15 years. When he is released by his unknown tormentors he is challenged to find out the reasons for his imprisonment.
Violent and graphic, and at times difficult to follow, this film held my attention. The look, for one thing, is quite unique. Colors are bleached and things happen for no apparent reason. Yet there is tenderness sprinkled among the awful things that happen.
I’ve watched the film only once so far, but as far as I can remember, for the first 9/10 of the film, nothing “natural” intruded. All action takes place in rooms, hallways, or streets in an urban setting gritty and stripped of all softness and greenery. The impact is to watch a man stripped of companionship and all relationship to nature, who is periodically visited by violence, cruelty, and illogical happenings.
Not a film for everyone, I need to watch this one again before forming a final opinion.